In early spring 2019 Hemlock Public School District followed a plan and pattern that it has used multiple times with success. We conducted an internal audit, developed a road map for improvements, committed to our plan, and followed it with fidelity. The focus may not be one you might expect. The focus was on food service and improving our student and staff experience.
Superintendent Killingbeck said “The program was okay up to that point. We weren’t losing money, but it was obvious that we could do better.”
The districts mantra has and continues to be “Kids First,” and that focus is used in every aspect of the school system to drive improvements. Killingbeck, noted that in food service however, the previous focus was on breaking even. The program was fine as long as it did not divert monies away from the classroom.
During the 2018-2019 school year the district wanted more than break even and so did the food service director and department staff. The district brought in a firm to conduct a program audit and provide some direction for improvement. Some of improvements had nothing to do with food, they had to do with aesthetics, uniforms, presentation, and efficiency. The food came afterward with student focus groups and more.
All of these improvements, focused on providing the best student experience possible resulted in over 100,000 meals served during the 2019-2020 school year, which was a significant increase over previous years. This number does include the meals served during our shutdown; we would have likely served more if we had a normal finish to the school year.
The high school students in particular started posting pictures of their school lunches on social media with hashtags highlighting the high approval and letting their friends in other schools know that their lunch was better than theirs.
Food Service Director, Chris Tomasek noted how proud she is of the food service team and all their hard work this past school year.
The number one thing to note is when you focus on the right thing, which in this case is the student experience you get the right results. For more information about this or other positive happenings please contact us at (989) 642-5282.